A new business jet programme will be announced at the show this morning. Project Phoenix will provide a large-cabin 3,000nm range business jet with up to 19 seats by converting Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jets – at a price of just $17.9m.

Project Phoenix is a partnership between Canadian based Aerospace Concepts, which will project manage sourcing, maintenance and completion, and Action Aviation, soon to be headquartered in Dubai, which provides marketing and sales support.

The programme addresses two significant challenges facing the business and corporate aviation market – increasing prices and increasingly long lead times on new aircraft. The Converting CRJ-200s from 50-seat airliners to a luxury VIP business jets keeps costs and lead times low – delivery times of just 10 months are being quoted.

“Project Phoenix is able to offer a high performance luxury business jet at a quarter of the price,” says John Lawson, the former president of Bombardier Business Aircraft who is acting as a senior adviser to the project. Lawson brought the Bombardier Global Express to market, and the Phoenix aircraft “has a cabin similar in size to the Global Express”, he says.

“We’ve already sourced several airframes to start the process and it offers a $50m jet for a launch price of around $18m. This aircraft is going to have great appeal to the charter market. Charter companies are crying out for this level of aircraft, and for their business models they are able to incur a much lower acquisition cost,” Lawson says. The initial focus for the aircraft is the Middle East and Asia, where business jet demand is outstripping supply.

The retrofit also includes the installation of long-range fuel tanks if required, and maintenance will be carried out exclusively by authorised Bombardier Service Centres. “The is a great airframe, proven in service with airlines,”Lawson says. “We wanted to do a programme like this at Bombardier but could never get the production slots. I would hope we will have firm orders for several aircraft to private individuals before the end of the show.”

Action Aviation’s Mike Creed says interior options include a full bedroom and the ability to customise the interior as required, with state-of-the-art IFE and avionics.

Project Phoenix president Mick Cappuccitti, another ex-Bombardier man who headed the conpany’s business in the Middle East, says: “Project Phoenix directly addresses buyers’ concerns with regard to price and delivery, with absolutely no trade-off in comfort and safety. The proven airframe, engines and multiple redundancy systems of the CRJ-200, as well as its generous cabin size, make it an ideal candidate for a conversion programme.”

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Source: Flight Daily News